As with most things in life, you get what you pay for. Cheap hosting may seem like a good idea but signing up comes with certain, important, caveats, not least the potential risk to your website security.
What is Cheap Hosting?
If you are on a very tight budget, cheap hosting is an option because you can get your website online in next to no time at a pretty low cost. This is also known as shared hosting and it means your website occupies a space on a server along with hundreds if not thousands of other sites.
Each server has limited resources, however. Think of like a group of people in a house all sharing the same bathroom as opposed to having an en suite for their exclusive use. If too many people are waiting to use the shower, you'll have to wait too. Once you finally get there, you'll probably find that the hot water has been used up.
What Are the Benefits?
It's low cost and easy to set up. Most hosts provide various levels of cheap hosting and they can be a great way to start if you are a new business or simply want something low cost for personal use, such as blogging about your latest hobby.
If you're a business and you're looking to grow, however, these slim benefits are far outweighed by the disadvantages.
What Are the Risks to Your Business?
First impressions count and while your new website may look great on your own devices, it may not perform as you expect for other visitors in distant reaches of the globe. Cheap hosted websites can suffer from a wide range of issues:
Because everything is shared, your website could be limited in what it can do. For instance, there may be restrictions on storage space which could impact how much content you can put up. Traffic can be slowed or restricted if there are too many users online at the same time.
To put it simply, if your host can't deliver on your bandwidth needs then you are going to encounter load time problems and plenty of other issues.
Slow download speeds
Page download speed is critical when it comes to websites and businesses on shared servers suffer from it regularly.
A delay of just a few seconds can mean that users click the back button and go to look elsewhere. According to Hosting Tribunal, a delay of just 1 second can reduce page views by 11%. That can have a significant impact on your business.
While things have improved over the last few years, shared servers are always less secure than dedicated options.
Malware from other sites on the server could impact your business but you are also more exposed to hacking. It's important if you are using cheaper hosting to check what security measures are in place.
Impact on SEO
There's also a direct impact on where you appear on search engines such as Google. You can do all the work you can in improving visibility but if you have slow download speeds or your site is a security risk, then you are unlikely to rank on page one for the most popular keywords in your industry.
Websites can start to become more popular and receive greater numbers of visitors very quickly, especially if the marketing strategy is delivering. The problem with a cheap website is that it's not prepared for such an influx.
If people trying to access your site and are finding slow download times, for example, they can get frustrated, disappear for good and even post negative comments on review sites and social media.
What is Dedicated Hosting and Why is it Better?
The best option for businesses is to go for a dedicated server. This essentially means that you have the shower to yourself, to use the simple metaphor above. It gives you access to better download speeds, greater security and more features to choose from.
Yes, it costs more.
But your business website is the fulcrum around which all your marketing activity revolves and, if you want to grow your business, have more control and stay secure, it's the much better option in the long run.
Please feel free to get in contact if you require help with your hosting.